Mountain Bike Moab's White Rim Trail

Utah Shafer Trailhead

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Explore incredible views of rock formations on this 4-day ride.

This trip can be done with an outfit or independently. The outfit Escape Adventures is highly recommended. They send two guides - one drives a pickup behind with all the camping gear. If you don't have the money or interest, however, it is possible to simply use panniers or a backpack to carry everything and go without the truck.

This description follows the White Rim Trail, but you are definitely advised to look at the map and change up any part of the trip you want. The map is also useful, as it shows all locations mentioned here, labeled.

Day 1: 16.6 miles
Drive into the state park on Grand View Point Road and turn off at the Schafer Trail (just before the Visitor's Center). You can ride in from Moab, but it's pretty far and also mostly uphill. Descend down the Schafer Trail and into the canyon. This initial descent is pretty steep and not a great way to ease into the riding, but personally, I found it was the hardest part of the entire trip, so don't fret if you weren't too comfortable with it. After about 5 miles, turn right at the fork onto the White Rim Trail. A couple miles later, there will be a short trail off to your right, Gooseneck Overlook, which is a pretty nice place to stop for lunch. After continuing for 8 or so miles from the overlook, you will come to a campsite called Airport where you can stop for the night. Since the day won't be too long, you might take a ride in the truck down Lathrop Canyon 4 miles to the Colorado River for a quick dip, then come back up to Airport for dinner - although you could ride your bike, it's a tough ascent to get back up.

Day 2: 26.3 miles
Get up early and set off down the White Rim Trail after breakfast. After around 15 miles you reach an overlook of the incredible Monument Basin, where you can stop for lunch. You can really stop anywhere along this stretch for lunch, because there are so many beautiful spots to look into the basin at the incredible rock formations. After lunch travel another 11 miles or so, the last of which is an extremely tough ascent, probably the toughest one until the final ascent from the National Park on the last day. At the top of the ascent is Murphy Hogback, where you can spend the night.

Day 3: 24.8 miles
After around 8 miles on the trail, stop for an early lunch at Candlestick. From there it's about 16 more miles, with a lot of elevation change, riding along the Green River. Right before the final descent to the campsite, there's another tough, long ascent. I thought this was the toughest day, and if you get tired you can stop after only 12 miles to camp at Potato Bottom. If you continue the extra 4 miles to Hardscrabble, however, it is likely to be significantly less busy (no one was there, as opposed to 3 or 4 other groups). You can also ride backwards on the trail a bit once you get to Hardscrabble to find a nice place where you can wade right into the Green River, rather than having to jump in and trying to find a way to climb out.

Day 4: ~10 miles
The last day! This one is pretty short, but has the longest and toughest ascent at the end. After 1.7 miles go left at the fork and continue for about half a mile and go left at another fork. Continue for 6.5 miles, leaving the national park in the process (don't forget to snap a picture!) and keep right at the fork to continue onto Mineral Bottom Road. A tough climb comes about 1 mile after the fork; you can stop for lunch at the top. Finally, hop in the truck and drive back to Moab. If you want to ride back, Route 313 is about ten miles farther up the road and you can get to Moab that way, but it would be quite a long day.

Pack List

  • Tents
  • Backpack or panniers (if not bringing a vehicle)
  • Daypack (if bringing a vehicle)
  • Mountain bikes
  • Helmet
  • Trail map
  • Water (lots of it!)
  • Food (four days worth)
  • Shoes (for biking)
  • Sandals (for relaxing at camp)
  • Bike shorts
  • Athletic shirts
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera
  • I probably forgot something, so anything else you deem necessary
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Activities:

Camping, Mountain Biking

Skill Level:

Intermediate

Season:

Spring, Autumn

Trail Type:

Point-to-Point

Distance:

100 Miles

Rating:

Features:

Bathrooms
Scenic
Swimming Hole

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How to Get There

over 1 year ago

White Rim

Did 80 + miles of the White Rim over two days. One of the best trips of my life.

over 1 year ago

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